New Jerusalem: Serve God as Priests

Revelation 22:3 says about New Jerusalem, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him.” In what way will we serve as slaves in New Jerusalem? The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and includes three different words translated “serve.” The word in Revelation 22:3 means serve as a priest, or serve in New Jerusalemworship.*

How do we get into this eternal priestly service? The praise in Revelation 1:5b-6 says, “To Him who loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen.” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ released us from sins and made us a kingdom of priests!

Becoming priests is not by our choice nor by our effort. And we should not question or doubt our qualification for this service. It does not depend on us—He “made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” This declaration in 1:5-6 is confirmed by the same word in Revelation 5:9-10.

He made us priests and He is our High Priest. As such He is “merciful and faithful” (Heb. 2:17), “great” (4:14), “holy, guileless, undefiled, higher than the heavens” (7:26), and perfected forever” (7:28).

Jesus Christ is so much, and we, always coming to Him (1 Peter 2:4), “are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:5). We are not merely individual priests, but are being built together as a priesthood. As such we are “priests of God and of Christ” now, in the coming age (Rev. 20:6), and in New Jerusalem eternally.

* Some other verses with this word for serve are Matt. 4:10, Luke 2:37, Rom. 1:9, 2 Tim. 1:3.

Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos.

 

 

Through Sufferings to New Jerusalem (6)

New JerusalemThis series of posts presents verses showing that suffering in our Christian life is normal but temporary. This suffering brings forth glory in stages from now to New Jerusalem. This post begins our look at Peter’s view of this process.

In 1 Peter 1 we who are regenerated (v. 3) “are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time” (v. 5). This salvation will be the transfiguration of our mortal bodies to free the faithful believers from suffering.

We exult in this last time, the time of the Lord’s visible return “though for a little while at present, if it must be, you have been made sorrowful by various trials” (v. 6). These trials are “so that the proving of your faith…may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (v. 7). Rejoice.

Similarly, 1 Peter 4:13 encourages us “inasmuch as you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultingly.” His glory is revealed in a limited way through us now, much more at His coming back, and completely in New Jerusalem.

Then verse 19 reminds us”let those also who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing to a faithful Creator.” Remember that our Creator says we were “created, formed, and even made for My glory”  (Isa. 43:7). May we look to His eternal goal, New Jerusalem, remember His faithfulness, and commit ourselves to Him.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Mercy for God’s Goal, New Jerusalem

New JerusalemGod has a goal. This is not his response to man’s fall and to sin and death. Rather, it is His eternal heart’s desire, what He wants to do and what He will accomplish. Sin and death merely show His wisdom in accomplishing His desire, which consummates in New Jerusalem.

Because of sin and death, our fallen being is disqualified from what God wants to do and we could have no part in His plan. However, God had mercy on us. Because of His great mercy, He saved us, He regenerated us, and His is bringing us onward to New Jerusalem.

Here is a summary of our recent series on God’s mercy, with a verse and a link to each post.

  John the Baptist came “to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the merciful compassions of our God.” Out of the introduction by John, according to God’s merciful compassions, “the rising sun [Jesus] will visit us from on high” (Luke 1:76-78).

 Jesus Christ became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). This propitiation opens the door for us to receive the eternal life which brings us to New Jerusalem.

 Romans 9:15-16 say, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” It is not by our determination (him who wills) nor by our effort (him who runs). But we can cry out to God for mercy.

 We need mercy because of the negative effect of sin and death. We also need mercy because in ourselves we do not have the glory of God (Romans 3:23), an essential quality of New Jerusalem.

Ephesians 2:1-3 describe our fallen condition. Verses 4-6 describe what God did with us in Christ due to “being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.” Verse 7 continues, “That He might display in the ages to come [including New Jerusalem] the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Like Ephesians 2, Titus 3 presents our fallen condition then presents God’s salvation through His washing and renewing, “not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy.”

First Peter 1:3-4 say that God, “according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and unfading.” New Jerusalem is the consummation of this inheritance.

 Jude 21 encourages us “keep yourselves in the love of God, awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” We have eternal life already; here “unto eternal life” indicates we still need mercy to be brought into the fuller enjoyment of this life in the coming age and the fullest enjoyment of it in New Jerusalem.

While we are on the journey of our Christian life, “Let us come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

The new creation is spiritual and hidden within us today but eventually the new creation with New Jerusalem as its center, will become visible to all (Revelation 21:1-2). We should care for this today; per Galatians 6:15-16, “a new creation is what matters. And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy.”

God has temporarily turned from the Jews to show mercy to non-Jews (Gentiles). God’s mercy is shown to us according to His infinite wisdom. Our response should match Romans 15:9, “the Gentiles should glorify God for His mercy.”

This series on mercy concluded with a hymn,
God, we praise Thee for Thy mercy, ’Tis so great and so profound!
In our weakness and our failures; With its greatness it abounds.
We adore Thee! we adore Thee! With such mercy we’ve been crowned!

God is merciful to bring us into His salvation and His salvation brings us to New Jerusalem.

Photo by Christine Painter, courtesy of CSIRO Australia.

The Merciful and Faithful High Priest  Brings Us Forward to New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of all God’s work and the eternal outcome of His mercy toward us.

God’s New Testament mercy began with the sending of John the Baptist, followed by the appearing of Jesus Christ. He became “a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17)

New JerusalemHebrews 2:5-18 speaks first of the prophecy in Psalm 8 and then about the fulfillment in His becoming such a High Priest. In this fulfillment He destroyed the devil and released us from death. God also subjected all things under His feet. We do not yet see this subjection but we do see Jesus, who was crucified and passed through death, crowned with glory and honor.

Furthermore, Hebrews 2 tells us that as our High Priest, He imparted Himself as life into us to make us individually His brothers and corporately His church. He also sings hymns of praise in our midst to the Father, who is leading many sons into glory. It is very likely that such singing will continue into the next age and into New Jerusalem.

This passage about our High Priest also tells us that God is “leading many sons into glory.” The merciful care for us opened the door for God’s leading us into glory, which ultimately is New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

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